How would you respond if God invited you into a ministry but then told you it would reap little fruit? That’s what Isaiah faced (Isaiah 6). And God was correct. Even though Isaiah spoke God’s words of warning to the people of Israel, they didn’t respond. Yet, Isaiah faithfully served God for over 40 years and is quoted at least 50 times in the New Testament–the most of any Old Testament Prophet. There was fruit from his ministry, but he never saw it.
This is ministering to me right now because I obeyed the Lord today and involved my mother-in-law Audrey in helping me bake cookies. She has dementia and feels bad about herself because of memory loss. Yesterday, I committed to trying to involve her more in useful things. So I did today. As she scooped out cookie batter and it fell off the spoon, she poured contempt on herself. I tried to encourage her but she completely rejected it. I was so frustrated. I thought, “I’m trying to do the right thing here but there’s no fruit! So just go ahead and feel sorry for yourself.”
But Isaiah obeyed the Lord and yet didn’t see fruit! Audrey most likely isn’t going to change. It’s not my job to change her (gee, where have I heard that before–like, trying to change everyone in my life?).
I need to recognize that my feelings mean I am putting her as the definer of my worth. If I can’t help her change or see her applaud my efforts to make her feel better, I must not be effective, powerful, etc. etc. But she isn’t my definer! Only God should be. And He is pleased with my responsiveness to Him!
Maybe that’s how Isaiah served for so long with so little response. He must have only looked to God for his worth and value. I’m recomitting to that right now!